The Last Pathfinder's Journal

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The year was 2007. The Dungeon and Dragon magazine license had just ended, and all of us in the Editorial Pit were sweating bullets over this new baby called Pathfinder Adventure Path—a baby that was going to need to grow up and get a job quick so that we could all keep paying rent. The first volume had already been put to bed, and we were trying to figure out what to do going forward with this section we'd put in the back called the Pathfinder's Journal. The first volume had featured an overview of the Pathfinder Society, written by Erik Mona, but now we were thinking about Ed Greenwood's old Volo's Guides and wondering if maybe this section could be a chance for us to introduce some fun first-person, journal-style adventure fiction to help show off our new campaign setting. We had a half-empty map of Varisia, a handful of proper nouns, and a couple of characters name-dropped in the first article—Pathfinder Eando Kline and Venture-Captain Shevala. What more did we need?

Since we were short on time, Jason Bulmahn and I wrote the second and third entries simultaneously. I'd published a few short stories other places, but I was still nervous as I turned mine in—a story called "Hand of the Handless," set in a mostly unknown little city called Kaer Maga. A few days later, Wes Schneider and James Jacobs took me aside and told me that not only were they cool with my story, they were putting me in charge of the section. From that moment forward, I'd be the steward of the continuing adventures of Eando Kline, hiring the best authors I could find and helping them showcase the world of Golarion. I was twenty-three years old.


Illustration by Jason Engle

Over the next seven years, the Pathfinder's Journal and I grew together. Somewhere around the start of Curse of the Crimson Throne, we realized that Eando's adventures ought to have a point, and the grand arc we crafted took three whole adventure paths to complete. This odyssey was eventually compiled as The Compass Stone, and from there we gave Eando his well-deserved rest (or rebellion) and moved on to having authors write entire six-part novellas in each AP, including folks like Dave Gross, Elaine Cunningham, Wes Schneider, and more. A few years ago, as my job responsibilities started to include more and more management, I handed the journal off to Senior Editor Chris Carey and Developer Adam Daigle, who took the torch and ran with it.

I can't explain how important the journal has been to us, and especially to me. It was the constant process of developing—and often writing—chapters of those early journals that eventually convinced me I might have what it took to write a novel, and I know I wasn't the only one that learned from it. The Pathfinder Tales novel line grew directly out of the success of the journal, and it's no surprise that many authors—and even characters like Dave Gross's Varian and Radovan—leapt straight from journal to novels, with great aplomb.Yet probably the biggest impact the journal had was on the setting. In those early days, we were still building the Inner Sea region with every story, and tons of iconic characters and locations first saw the light of day there. It's where we learned about bloatmages and orc warbeasts, where we met Shoanti burn riders and Urglin gladiators and heard a serpentfolk's telepathic speech in our heads.

And now, almost a decade later, we're bringing it to a close. Starting with Pathfinder Adventure Path #115, the first of the Ironfang Invasion volumes, we'll be retiring the Pathfinder's Journal. (Fun fact: We were actually going to retire the section half a year earlier, then realized we'd be kicking ourselves forever if we didn't take the chance to let six different authors write six Lovecraftian stories!) The reasons for retirement are many, but in the end, it comes down to the fact that we just don't need it anymore. The journal was always about seeing Golarion through the eyes of its residents, rather than the omniscient overview of a GM. Today, we have the Pathfinder Tales novel line, with far more space in which to bring you the best stories, the most vibrant character, and the most detailed locations. It's the Pathfinder's Journal all grown up.

So what's going to be taking the Journal's place? In short: more! More and longer backmatter articles! Longer adventures! More monsters! More of all the material Pathfinder Adventure Path already provides to help you run your game. It's not my place to spoil what Crystal's got in store for you, but from what I've overheard the developers giggling about, it's going to be awesome. And for those readers who miss the fiction—come on over to the Pathfinder Tales section and let us hook you up.

Thanks to everyone who's read the journal all these years. We wouldn't be who we are without it—and without all of you.

James L. Sutter
Creative Director

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Jason Engle Pathfinder Adventure Path Pathfinder Tales
51 to 80 of 80 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I hope we'll still be getting the remaining fiction compiled as epubs, as well as the still missing webfiction compilations.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:

I always enjoyed the fiction.

I much prefer having the short fiction (web fiction and AP fiction) to Pathfinder Tales because it was a different scale of fiction that was fun to read in an evening.

The Tales line occupies a different headspace.

I would totally subscribe to a PF monthly/weekly short fiction line, even if it was online or pdf only (the kind of thing I see on some Patreon things).

I agree on all counts. That would be a nice subscription.

Dark Archive Vendor - Fantasiapelit Tampere

End of era indeed. Sad to see them go but I understand the reason. Is there any news on the last journey, who is writing it and all that?

I think Eando Kline should have his own Pathfinder Tales adventure. he kinda deserves it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Zaister wrote:
GeraintElberion wrote:

I always enjoyed the fiction.

I much prefer having the short fiction (web fiction and AP fiction) to Pathfinder Tales because it was a different scale of fiction that was fun to read in an evening.

The Tales line occupies a different headspace.

I would totally subscribe to a PF monthly/weekly short fiction line, even if it was online or pdf only (the kind of thing I see on some Patreon things).

I agree on all counts. That would be a nice subscription.

Also agreed!


As a newer subscriber to the AP line, I think this is a great decision. To me it felt unfocused to just have an unrelated short story pop up after the module - for the first AP I bought I thought the novel would be a dramatization of the module, which I think would had been useful, but when it wasn't I started to wonder what was I buying. A Pathfinder adventure line, or some sort of expensive magazine with a bit of a split personality? The fiction I read weren't even set in the same place as the adventure was, so I couldn't really find any use for them in running the adventure.

I love the Pathfinder Tales novels I have bought, and I think that that is a much better place for this content and purpose. I understand that especially for the subscribers from the Dungeon/Dragon-days this is a sad day, but for me, as relatively new blood, this decision really straightens out a big question mark I had.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Loved the AP fiction, and found it very useful. But I also understand the sentiment on the other side, and can appreciate having additional adventure material.

Great job, James!

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I personally will miss them. I think they helped set the tone for the APs. I know that I read them and pulled things from them. While the Pathfinder Tales are great, I enjoyed the short stories. Please put some thought into releasing short story collections, maybe Pathfinder Tales books that cover certain regions of Golarion with short stories :)


I loved the AP fiction, particularly the approach in Mummy's Mask that showed the area around the adventure through different eyes. But, at the end of the day, I'll probably get a lot of mileage out of more backmatter, adventure text, and monsters as well.

So, it's probably the right call, just a little bittersweet.

Cheers!
Landon


The death of short fiction is never good. Web based or in print. However, if it is replaced with things like expanded geography of the lands in the APs, that will be enjoyed.

Scarab Sages

I'm happy this era is over as I was never interested in the fiction and making space for more game content is great. But I'm also said for those who will miss it.


So no new short-fiction on the web site or in the journals? They were a great way to let Golarion breathe in a shorter format than a full novel.

I'd love if some sort of subscription went into effect. Not every story has to be big to give a sense of the world.

Sorry, the web fiction was got me into buying campaign setting updates, so this is a big hit.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Slamy Mcbiteo wrote:
I personally will miss them. I think they helped set the tone for the APs. I know that I read them and pulled things from them. While the Pathfinder Tales are great, I enjoyed the short stories. Please put some thought into releasing short story collections, maybe Pathfinder Tales books that cover certain regions of Golarion with short stories :)

Including some anthologies of short stories in the PF Tales line is a good idea, I think.

Creative Director, Starfinder Team

7 people marked this as a favorite.

The journal debate is dead—long live the journal debate! :P

Seriously, though: Thanks for the feedback, everyone! The idea of doing a short story collection or some sort of short story subscription (like a paid version of the web fiction) is deeply appealing to me as a creator, but so far we've shied away from it because the sales numbers on short story collections are pretty dismal compared to novels. Ditto for short fiction in other formats—the web fiction, while beloved by some, just didn't generate enough buzz by the end to justify the opportunity cost in addition to the *actual* cost. Each web fiction blog cost the company around $500, and even more importantly took some of our top editors away from working on the products that were *making* the company money. As with other discontinued projects like Planet Stories, we kept it going as long as we could out of love for the art form, but in the end, we had to do the responsible thing.

That said, it's really nice to hear from people who appreciate short fiction, and who knows? If the demand is there, perhaps it could return in a new and improved form someday...

Paizo Employee Editor

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I have to say how incredibly lucky I feel that I was able to participate in the last round of Pathfinder's Journals. I was a fan of them since the beginning (long before I started working at Paizo), and I always daydreamed of being able to write one.

And then I did! Yay! *flailing Muppet arms*

Thanks to everyone who wrote, developed, and edited the fiction over the years!


8 people marked this as a favorite.

An end of an era! Thank you for honoring it with this cool blog post instead of silently sweeping it away. I too remember Eric Mona's first overview article and didn't fully appreciate at the time how significantly it would impact our game for years to come.

For some of us, Eando Kline is our Han Solo. I don't collect minis, but I had to get the Eando Kline mini. He stays in his fancy package.

Also "Hand of the Handless", the story mentioned in the blog, brought us trolls-that-read-portents-in-their-regenerating-guts. Even today that still stands up as one of the most twisted awesome things in all of Pathfinder.

...And over the years it's become a pretty big field of twisted awesome.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Really really sorry about this.
I love reading, but sometimes a short story is just the right amount of pages you can manage, and PJ were my favourite spot to find just that many pages.
Glad to hear there'll be more pages for adventures and backstory articles tough.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Wow, like others have said, this really is the end of an era. I loved the fiction, no matter how varying in quality it has been. There was this one story, I'm pretty sure it's in Rise of the Runelords, but it could have been CotCT, where Eando meets these orcs, and something happens to make the orcs laugh and call out this word. Eando asks his guide what the word means, and it's basically apocalypse. And Eando just has this moment where he realizes that A) the orcs think the world is ending and B) they're laughing about it.

It was just such a tiny bit, but it's stuck with me for a decade now. Pathfinder will have to work overtime to keep me into the AP line. There's no way I'll ever be able to play all of the adventures, and some of the paths just haven't been as evocative as of late...the fiction and the bestiary were the two sections that I flipped to first. (Unless there was a demon prince/archdevil/SKR-god writeup.) And now that's half gone. It does feel a bit like a friend is moving far away.


While I understand the appeal of the stories to some, and symphathize with the people who will miss them...
This is the best news I've heard in months, and will probably singlehandedly make me buy Ironfang Invasion, and likely more of the following AP's.

Also, I know it's a bit early to talk about now, but will Starfinder AP's have fiction?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I always found having a few pages of fiction in an RPG adventure annoying. It has been wasted pages in every AP I have bought as I have read few if any of them, I buy enough fiction to keep me busy reading without having it added to a product I am buying for another reason. I will be happy if a short fiction line appears and is commercially viable for those who are interested


I'm in the 'Going to miss it... but if you're replacing it with something better than I'm kind of okay with it' club... but, right now, I don't actually know what is replacing the fiction and that makes it difficult for me to know whether I am more happy face than I am sad face. I will admit that I would never read the fiction until I had all six parts of an AP in my hand and then I would just binge read them (in so much as 30-ish pages of content could be called 'binge')... and I do think it added a little bit of flavour to each AP in which they were embedded.

However, having said all that, there is enough feedback on this thread to suggest that the fiction was poor value for some folks... and therefore, when we come to future health of the AP line, it's difficult to see this as anything other then the 'right' decision.


I am in the boat of never really reading the short fiction...one of these days I will...so I am not going to miss them. Though a yearly anthology would be awesome.

Does this mean with the extra space we might see the APS going to higher levels?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Blackfingers wrote:


Also, I know it's a bit early to talk about now, but will Starfinder AP's have fiction?

How cool would it be if Eando Kline were placed in stasis and revived in Starfinder, appearing in a module or something. Perhaps as a pregen or an NPC.

I mean there is such a spell, right?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Ask a Shoanti wrote:
Blackfingers wrote:


Also, I know it's a bit early to talk about now, but will Starfinder AP's have fiction?

How cool would it be if Eando Kline were placed in stasis and revived in Starfinder, appearing in a module or something. Perhaps as a pregen or an NPC.

I mean there is such a spell, right?

Spell? Bah!

We can rebuild him.
We have the technology.
We can make him better than he was.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Honestly, the fiction was the first thing I read in each volume. I skipped right past the AP to avoid spoiling it for whenever I got to play it. Finding out what happened next in the fiction was a huge draw for the first couple years.

I have every single AP volume, but I've never once considered reading the fiction. It just wasn't what I'd bought the volume for.


thunderspirit wrote:
Ask a Shoanti wrote:
Blackfingers wrote:


Also, I know it's a bit early to talk about now, but will Starfinder AP's have fiction?

How cool would it be if Eando Kline were placed in stasis and revived in Starfinder, appearing in a module or something. Perhaps as a pregen or an NPC.

I mean there is such a spell, right?

Spell? Bah!

We can rebuild him.
We have the technology.
We can make him better than he was.

He's the AI deity that brought FTL travel.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Lilith wrote:
thunderspirit wrote:
Ask a Shoanti wrote:
Blackfingers wrote:


Also, I know it's a bit early to talk about now, but will Starfinder AP's have fiction?

How cool would it be if Eando Kline were placed in stasis and revived in Starfinder, appearing in a module or something. Perhaps as a pregen or an NPC.

I mean there is such a spell, right?

Spell? Bah!

We can rebuild him.
We have the technology.
We can make him better than he was.

He's the AI deity that brought FTL travel.

Ean-DOS Endline?

Creative Director, Starfinder Team

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Blackfingers wrote:


Also, I know it's a bit early to talk about now, but will Starfinder AP's have fiction?

We're not planning to do any fiction in the Starfinder Adventure Path—since it's the start of a whole new game, we need all the backmatter space we can get for new setting and rules info! That said, I can pretty much promise you'll see some fiction-like things popping up elsewhere...


James Sutter wrote:
We're not planning to do any fiction in the Starfinder Adventure Path—since it's the start of a whole new game, we need all the backmatter space we can get for new setting and rules info! That said, I can pretty much promise you'll see some fiction-like things popping up elsewhere...

OOooooOOOOOooooo. That's one exciting implication :)

Liberty's Edge

Ah sad, I was reading the replies to Liz's goodbye thread and only then saw it mentioned that the Pathfinder's Journal was being discontinued. It was what got me hooked on Golarion more than anything else, and it's the reason I started running Serpent's Skull last year. I'll always feel a little excitement when I flip through a book and see Eando Kline's journal entries.

51 to 80 of 80 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / General Discussion / Paizo Blog: The Last Pathfinder's Journal All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in General Discussion